Sometimes the most natural way just isn't possible. Whether you work outside of the home, can't or really don't want to breastfeed, or just want to avoid dirty looks in public, bottle feeding your baby is a necessity. But it can be a little more complicated. Here are a few things to consider before you choose to bottle feed your baby.
The Downsides of Formulas
- Immunities: Despite how far baby formulas have come over the years, they will never be able to support a baby's immune system like mom's milk, thanks to her red and white blood cells and immune-boosting substances.
- Nutrients: Did you know a mother's body changes the levels of nutrients in her milk daily and even hourly to suit the needs of her baby? Now that's hi-tech.
- Bonding: Though you certainly can and should hold your baby close while feeding, mothers attest that breast feeding creates a very special, unique bond between you and your child.
- Cost: Though some mothers find themselves eating more while breastfeeding, the cost of extra food doesn't come anywhere near that of baby formula.
- Convenience: Not only are your breasts already there and ready to use, they don't have to be scrubbed and sterilized the way bottles need to be.
- Gas: There are generally way fewer air swallowing problems with breastfeeding than bottles. And that means less crampy crying and spitting up.
The Upsides of Bottles
- Easier to schedule.
- Zero failure rate.
- Portable and can be used anytime, anywhere.
- Can be a great supplement to breast pumping . Fill bottles ahead of time so they're ready to use when and wherever baby gets hungry; this way, you can still give your baby the nutrition of breast milk.
|Not all bottles are created equal|
Choosing a Bottle
Baby bottles are simple containers, but there are still some choices to make:
- Size: Most bottles hold between four and twelve ounces; your baby's age and size will determine what's appropriate.
- Material: You can buy plastic ,glass , or special polycarbonate-free and bisphenol-A (BPA), non-glass bottles.
- Shape: There are bottles available in a bent shape for upright feeding (sometimes recommended for prevention of gas and even ear infections).
- Lining: You can purchase liners for bottles to avoid the hassle of sterilization.
- Special features: If your baby has problems with gas, some bottles have ventilations systems or even built in burpers .
And now onto everyone's favourite topic--nipples !
Tip: Whatever you choose in nipples, make sure they're always clean (washed with hot soapy water), and for newborns, sterilized (boiled in hot water for ten minutes).
Types of Baby Formula
If you're not doing the breast pump thing, here are a few options for filling the bottle:
- Powder formulas are easy to store, keep well, but can be messy to mix.
- They're the cheapest.
- They're not sterile, so reserve them for healthy babies with no known immune problems.
- Liquid concentrates are fast and easy to mix, and take up less space than ready-to-use versions.
- They're more expensive than powders.
- Prepared baby formulas are a complete no-brainer; just open the bottle and pour in the amount you need.
- They're the most expensive options.
- They have short shelf lives.
- Alternative formulas, such as those made with soya milk , or milk from organically farmed cows , are suitable for kids with allergies, or mums who are leery of chemicals.
- They're expensive, and can be hard to find.
A Few Products to Make Your Life Easier
|Some breast pumps attach right to a bottle|
Final Tips and Warnings
- Always clean (and for newborns, sterilize) bottles and nipples before each use.
- Never reuse formula or breast milk; germs from the baby's saliva quickly multiply in a warm bottle.
- If you heat a bottle, test a drop of its contents on the inside of your wrist before you give it to your baby to avoid burns.
- Also to prevent burns, never warm up a bottle in the microwave; it could create pockets of heat that can scorch.
- Don't screw on a nipple too loosely or too tightly; too loose and it will leak, but too tight and your baby will swallow air and get gas.